According to the ex-Minister of Education Petr Fiala: “Foreign students contribute to a higher quality of education in the Czech Republic by creating an environment of international competition.”
One of the current trends on the global labour market is to strongly tighten the conditions of the recruitment of foreigners in many countries. The situation in the Czech Republic is not different. The negative impact of the global economic crisis, increasing unemployment or an attempt to find an all-purpose way of selecting suitable employees might be the cause. The restrictions affect particularly low-qualification workers without permanent residence permit, but some of the changes of the rules will concern everybody, including highly qualified experts. They have to go through the procedure of nostrification, i.e. a recognition of their completed education. This is to facilitate the systematisation of a wide range of various diplomas and certificates issued all over the world. Nevertheless, it brings several complications, too.
Postgraduate academic degrees are designed to produce highly qualified specialists for careers in science, education and industry. Since a PhD may be viewed as a credential of an elite specialist, a postgraduate student must be profoundly interested in research, be responsible and show extraordinary diligence in order to complete successfully their chosen path. The decision to enrol on a postgraduate course abroad is an even greater challenge for a fresh MA/MSc degree holder. Some of them choose to do so in the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic has become an important destination for students when choosing their university. The interest has increased as many universities opened their doors for foreign students, offering them a possibility to study among Czech students as well as programmes taught in English. In 2010 there were 37,700 foreign students studying in the Czech Republic, representing 10 % of the total number of university students. By comparison, in 2001 foreign students represented only 4 % of the total number of students. In this article, we are going to present you with three different opinions on the Czech university system seen from a foreign student’s perspective.
Every year 130 Czech governmental scholarships are awarded to “third countries in need” students based on academic merit*. The precondition for such scholarship award consists in successful passing of one-year preparatory course of Czech language and of entrance examinations, which are supposed to be undertaken in the same conditions as for Czech native speakers, without enjoying any particular privilege.
Kristina had always dreamt of studying abroad but had not known how and where to go from Russia. Once she saw an invitation for a conference about study in the Czech Republic organized by a Czech language school. The specific school recruited potential interested students. Paying for the language course, whose price was around 4,000 Euro, was enough to fulfil the dream. Moreover, Kristina had to pay for full academic year accommodation in order to get the visa and so the price rose to 6,000 Euro.
I came to the Czech Republic because I had always dreamed of studying somewhere abroad where there is a better educational system than in Angola. I came in spite of not having had enough information about the Czech Republic and not having known what to expect. Prague is the capital – that was the only information I had. I also knew well the football national team.
How is the Czech Ministry of the Interior (not) working: Thousands of immigrants´applications after the legal deadline in Prague
The ministry wasn`t in time to deal with almost 17 thousands of long-term residence and more than 7 thousands of permanent residence (i.e. long-term residence according to EU terminology) before the legally set deadline. The Department for Asylum and Migration Policy has 30 or 60 days to issue or prolong any visa or residence permit; however, in practice it takes many months or even years to do this. Migrants are waiting in doubt for half a year and sometimes even longer. How many applications were delivered and how many of them weren`t processed in a proper time you can see in the graph below. Part of this amount may consist of documentation of interrupted processes.
The long executive process has very negative influence on migrants` lives and also on their integration to the Czech society. If they are for example applying for permanent residence with the purpose of family reunification, very often they can`t live together with their relatives and they have to deal with the family situation provisionally. In the case that married couple has a newborn child during the long period of processing the residence application, the baby is coming to an uncertain space. The baby cannot obtain any residence status because the one of its parents are still not being processed. It makes difficult or even impossible any travels (to see for example the rest of their family abroad). You can hear more details in a radio feature about family whose children was waiting more than year to get a visa here (available in Czech only).
During three weeks of September and October, an intermediary agency called Cizinky na úklid (Foreigners for cleaning) was marketazing its services: they were offering services of migrant women for the households – discretely, for a really cheap price and without unnecessary bureaucracy. It was supposed to start its activities on the 15th of October. Fortunately it did not happen because the agency is not real.
It was “established” by non-profit organizations Association for Integration and Migration and People in Need, commentator Kateřina Kristelová and creative agency Ogilvy&Mather and Mather Advertures as part of a campaign promoting the rights of migrants-domestic workers and aiming to reach wider public. We would like to apologize to those who received untruthful or zero information in a few past weeks. Also we would like to explain our motivation.
The Council of the Government of the Czech Republic for Human Rights dedicated the latest meeting at 7th of October 2013 to the issues of immigrants´ rights. Topics such as migrant’s access to the health insurance, restrictions connected with employment of international workers and functioning of VISAPOINT system for visa applications in foreign countries have been discussed.